Capitol Alert

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The Federal Election Commission this week struggled again with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's request for a loosening of the usual fundraising limits, in the wake of the massive embezzlement by former campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee.

The upshot: Feinstein didn't get the go-ahead she sought, but neither did the six-member FEC come to a official consensus decision on the key question. There could be more discussions to come.

Feinstein asked the FEC for permission to raise more money from contributors who had already maxed out under federal campaign limits, arguing that Durkee's admitted embezzlement meant the money was never really received.

A revised draft opinion debated Thursday would have denied Feinstein's request to seek replacement contributions from individuals whose money had been deposited in a campaign account. But with one Republican commissioner recusing himself from the deliberations, the 3-2 vote adopting the draft opinion fell short of the four votes needed for approval.

The FEC's general counsel will be redrafting an opinion that would allow more money to be raised only from those individuals whose prior contributions were never actually deposited in a campaign account. This may not cover very many donors.


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